Fri | Dec 9, 2016

We are endangered! Male family members of man killed by police in Orange Villa, downtown Kingston, fear for their future

Published:Sunday | January 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

One year after their brother was fatally shot by members of the police force, Robert 'Nakia' Jackson's brothers are still hurting and concerned about the fate of other young men in inner-city communities across the island.

Jackson, who was 27 years old, was shot and killed in his cookshop in Orange Villa, Kingston, January last year. It is alleged that the police were chasing a Rastafarian man and encountered Jackson, who was also dreadlocked, and opened fire on him.

Following a memorial that was held last Tuesday to mark the first anniversary of his death, family members claimed that it has been a rocky journey to come to terms with the sudden death of a loved one.

Embrace gender equality

Tyrone Edwards, Jackson's brother, argued that policymakers must ensure gender equality is embraced wholeheartedly in the society.

"I'm worried about my sons and nephews; will they ever live to have a family and realise their dreams?" questioned Edwards.

"Sadly, one of the things that resonate with me from this situation is that I feel as if I am automatically an endangered species, as a male, and this cannot be a good sign for our young boys," added Edwards.

"It is not easy because we are currently in the fight to get justice, but we remain strong and remain confident that God is with us."

Jackson's sister, Shakelia, echoed similar sentiments as she expressed the hope that the killing of her brother will be a catalyst for change as it relates to the treatment of males and residents of inner-city communities on a whole.

"I have similar concerns. This is a male-dominated family and whereas women sometimes get a bly, men have a lot against them and we have to change that. I don't want this to be a nine-day wonder. We want to live to see that day when persons from Orange Villa are treated the same as someone from Cherry Gardens because it's one Jamaica," she pleaded.

Jackson's 94-year-old grandmother, Valda Grant, still wishes that she had been the one to die in his place.

"I just wish a me dem did kill. I live my life already, Nakia did just a start out and all his dreams just gone down the drain," lamented Grant.

"Every Monday I remember what happened and the wound still fresh. Every time I am suppose to eat I get very sad because he used to cook my food and give me every day. Nakia was so peaceful," added Grant.

Jackson's mother, Norma Brown, tried to hold back the tears as she reflected on the year that has passed.

According to the grieving mother, she holds no grudges against the cops and is leaving the situation in the hands of God.

"Weekends and holidays are the toughest for me because due to our work schedule, we hardly saw each other during the week, so those were the days when we would catch up. There are days when I get so weak, all I can do is fall on my knees and pray," Brown told The Sunday Gleaner.

"We come from the inner city but I train my children not to carry any grudge in their hearts. It makes no sense you retaliate and then you end up in prison and bury your dreams. We are all hurt and sometimes we feel angry, but God will be there for us," she said.